Computer science team competes in regional round of IBM’s Battle of the Brains

The Vanderbilt University School of Engineering teams competed in a regional round of the 35th annual IBM-sponsored Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, also known as the Battle of the Brains, Nov. 6.

The competition challenges teams of three students each to solve complex and rigorous real-world problems by using open technology and advanced computing methods under a grueling five-hour deadline.  During the challenge, the students complete an entire semester’s worth of computer programming.

“The Battle of the Brains is the Olympics of the computer programming world,” said Dr. Michael Karasick, vice president of strategy and technology at IBM Software Group.  “The amount of talent that we have the opportunity to witness each year is truly impressive and a testament to the value of this competition.”

Vanderbilt computer science teams competed with 22 collegiate teams from eight other colleges and universities at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. Teams were ranked according to most problems solved and the time consumed for each problem solved.

Placing sixth, 13th and 15th was Vanderbilt with four solved problems. The regional round first-place winner was the MTSU Blueraider #1 team, solving seven problems correctly and in the least amount of time.

Participating students from Vanderbilt included:

Team 1: First year students: Nanhua Jin, John Zhang and Lane Kelly

Team 2: Seniors: Elliot Hall and Will Chappell and Sophomore Zach McCormick

Team 3: Juniors: Aaron Setser, Matt Shea and Amber Colletti

Other schools involved in the Nov. 6 competition were Belmont University with teams placing third and 10th, East Tennessee State University placing fifth and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville placing 19th and 21st.  To view regional and site standings visit

Only 100, three-person regional teams will advance to the World Finals on March 4, 2011, in Egypt to determine the overall winner.